The iPhone has been good to AT&T. It helped attract over 4.3 million subscribers toward the end of '08, with 40% of them new to the telecom giant. That's why AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is currently in talks with Apple to extend the iPhone's exclusivity with his company into 2011. AT&T has been trying to shake off the cobwebs it's gathered from a landline-centric strategy, and breakaway mobile devices such as the iPhone helps it rebuild its brand.
"We have 77 million wireless customers and 30 million consumer phone lines," Stephenson told the Wall Street Journal. "Which customer base would you rather work from? We tend to come at this backwards."
So is there hope? Apple won't say either way. While AT&T's exclusive deal saddened those who didn't want to switch carriers but still wanted an iPhone, apparently Verizon was originally offered the gadget and declined. Hopefully in 2010 Verizon and others will rectify that mistake, and we'll have some choices.